Monday Diesel Fuel: Catching up with former Huskies

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It took long enough, but I finally found a day for this weekly roundup catching up on all the Huskie news: Mondays.  I've done it the past two weeks that way an it seems to be working out great.  We'll continue this and tweak it if there ends up being any problems.  Unless you want it more often...lemme know.  I'm also going to put any recruiting articles in a separate entity.  It only makes sense because those players aren't exactly Huskies yet.

The Huskies

  • John Sahly catches up with former Huskie football head man Joe Novak at the Brigham-Novak Classic, who hates Toledo just as much as the rest of us do:

Kill and Novak have become close since Kill took the reins from Novak. Kill calls every couple of weeks just to talk and keep the elder coach informed of what's going on in DeKalb.

Sometimes the calls are a little more frequent.

"The day they beat Toledo (38-7 on Oct. 18), before he even got off the field he was on the cell phone because he knew how much I hated Toledo," Novak said with a laugh. "Then they sent me the game ball.

"He's really done a great job of staying in touch and he doesn't need to do that but he's been great."

  • As the Phillies are the biggest contenders to obtain Roy Halladay, former Huskie and current AA Philadelphia prospect pitcher Matt German won't be on the trading block because of a season-ending injury:

Unfortunately, those hopes are temporarily on hold. He's been shelved by injury since May 11.

"Stress fracture of my eighth rib on the (left) side," said German, speaking by phone from Gibson City after the Phillies sent him "home" to rest.

German had pitched 15 1/3 innings in 11 games (1.17 ERA) before a muscle spasm in his back sidelined him for four days. During a 15-pitch bullpen throwing session, he felt a sharp pain in his ribs.

"They put me on the DL and I had two weeks off," he said.

He said he felt something "pop" in his back when he returned and an MRI exam revealed the injury.

"It's pretty rare," he said. "They think it's from overuse. Even though I didn't pitch a lot of innings, I threw a lot in April.

"I warmed up quite a few times when I didn't get into games and threw 20 days in April. And this season, the manager liked to go with the hot hand and I had it for a while. I had a couple outings where I went three innings. Last season, I never threw more than two innings (in an appearance).

"I had a great start and I've never really been injured before, so it's definitely disappointing."

Although it’s pure speculation, Patton said had Hart spent four years in a Huskies uniform he could be playing at the next level today.

"I think Mike would have had a legitimate chance at the NBA," Patton said. "Because he is such a student of the game; his natural ability would have been propelled by his tremendous work ethic."

After an expected six-month hiatus from contact sports to let the procedure heal properly, Hart plans to continue chasing his NBA dreams. At a National Basketball Development League camp in January, Hart was one of 200 prospective players at a tryout in Sacramento.

The NBDL measured, trained and scouted each individual to see if he had the potential required to enter the league that is a stepping stone to the NBA. Hart made it through two cuts and advanced to the final 20 players before being cut.

He’s a realist who said he needs more experience, but that he won’t give up on being a professional basketball player until he’s exhausted all avenues. He wants to head overseas to continue his basketball career once he is cleared to play by doctors.

But the NBDL opportunity gave him confidence he can compete at the next level and his hard work in the classroom allowed him another luxury, Patton said.

"Because Mike left with his degree, that gives him a chance to chase his dream a little bit longer," Patton said. "Because of the hard work he pours into everything he does though I know that he will be successful with whatever path he takes in life."

Getcha popcorn ready

5. Western Michigan at Northern Illinois, Oct. 3

Last season, NIU had to use three quarterbacks and almost pulled off the win, losing, 29-26. Brandon West ran for 175 yards against the Huskies.

4. Buffalo at Western Michigan, Oct. 24

Western Michigan's offense against Buffalo's defense sounds like a fantastic game to me.

3. Central Michigan at Buffalo, Oct. 3

This is the biggest test Central Michigan has on the road in the MAC, and last year's conference champions are still loaded at most of the skill positions.

Gather around the TV, lock the doors, answer no phone calls

2. Buffalo at Temple, Sept. 26

I have these two teams as 1-2 in the East and this early season game will set the tone for the rest of the conference season. Last season's game between these two was an instant classic, with Buffalo winning on a Hail Mary.

1. Central Michigan at Western Michigan, Oct. 17            

The single most important game in the MAC regular season takes place on Oct. 17. The Chippewas and Broncos are the favorites to win the division and the conference title.

1999 - You know you're just a camp guy when the media refers to you as a number. "Who's 27?" or something like "That No. 66 is pretty good." Well, that happens at every camp and 10 years ago, I can remember when "that No. 38" started making plays. That turned out to be a small, scrappy corner named Duane Hawthorne, an undrafted player from Northern Illinois. But Hawthorne fought his way onto the team and stuck around for four years, and played two more in San Francisco. Maybe you remember him or maybe you don't. To me, even 10 years later, I would rank Hawthorne as one of my top five favorite players.

The Opponents

The MAC

That bird is not my doppelganger. Seriously though, I have no idea why it has a mullet and a stupid grin on its face. They just lost their QB and coach.

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